What became clear, just a few hours into the day, was just how lucky those of us are working in the superyacht industry. The day saw the attendees split into workshops to discuss three problems faced by crew in the maritime industry: contracts (including salaries), social provisions and training.
Our recent Superyacht Golden Ticket crew survey revealed that the average salary for deckhands on board superyachts is 2,600 euros a month, and for those who have stayed on their yacht for between one and two years, this jumps to an average of 2,800 euros a month.
Just how lucky we are in this industry became most obvious when it came to the topic of wages. There was serious concern with the starting salaries for ‘ratings’ or what we would call deckhands on commercial vessels – and we’re not even talking annual salaries, we’re talking hourly wages of approximately £3 an hour. And these are guys and girls who have spent money in a maritime college, doing their training.
In my opinion, it’s actually difficult to compare this to the superyacht industry. The figures are oceans apart. Our recent Superyacht Golden Ticket crew survey revealed that the average salary for deckhands on board superyachts is 2,600 euros a month, and for those who have stayed on their yacht for between one and two years, this jumps to an average of 2,800 euros a month.
Another area of discussion was the lack of internet on board. This is something many yachts have problems with and many crew face, but few crew actually have the problem of no internet at all. These commercial have to deal with no internet, which means no contact with loved ones, for up to 50 days at a time – and this is a common instance. I don’t know too many superyacht crew who have this problem.
Yet another problem cited was a lack of berths for young people wishing to get their sea time and this, for those flying the superyacht flag, was where that light bulb above our heads lit up. With limited berths available in the commercial world, people are queuing up to get their sea time on these vessels but are finding the doors closed. Supply is outstripping demand. In contrast, the superyacht industry is facing a future, according to many, where demand outstrips supply. Surely, the answer is obvious. If we make the crew queuing up to step on board these merchant vessels for £3 an hour aware of the superyacht industry, in which they can still gain their sea time but, in most cases, surrounded by far better conditions, we have the potential to solve the problems faced by these two tangent ‘working-at-sea’ sectors; and, in a purely selfish viewpoint, our own predicted crew shortage.
It really did bring home just how lucky all of us working in this industry really are, yet it seems absurd that we are likely to struggle to find crew in the future. I think it would do us all some good not only to remember the privileges to which crew are subject when working in yachting, but work harder to remind people that the superyacht industry provides a legitimate and respected career path for anyone wishing to work at sea.
Our Superyacht Intelligence team is working on the results of the Superyacht Golden Ticket crew survey and will bring you the first set of results next week.